Friday, November 17, 2006

Bo Schembechler, Legendary Football Coach, Dead at 77

Glenn E. "Bo" Schembechler, the University of Michigan football coach from 1969-1989, died today at age 77. In one of those bizarre coincidences, Schembechler's passing occurred just one day before the annual Michigan-Ohio State showdown. With the Buckeyes and Wolverines both sporting perfect records coming in -- and ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country, respectively -- some observers are calling tomorrow's game the most significant one of the long series between UM and OSU.

Cranky and "old school," but with a grandfatherly friendliness, Schembechler was -- and always will be -- a UM institution. As noted in the above-linked university tribute to him, Schembechler spoke at the 2005 Michigan commencement (a video is also available). I suspect there are not too many college coaches in any sport who would be invited to speak at a graduation some 15 years after their coaching days were over!

There's a Schembechler Hall on campus, and there was even a reference to him in the 1983 movie "The Big Chill" (see the item toward the bottom of this Big Chill trivia list).

The UM has lost one of its true icons, one who not only made things exciting for Wolverine football fans, but also really connected to the university community as a whole.